Format vs Squarespace 2024: Ultimate Showdown! 💥

vs website builder

⏳ Do you want to skip the read and get right to my winner? Squarespace is the Winner within this Format vs Squarespace online portfolio website platform test.

Introduction to our Format vs Squarespace Comparison:

When considering a platform for creating an online portfolio or business website, two names often come up: Format and Squarespace. I've researched both options extensively to help you understand which might best suit your needs. Format is typically seen as a niche website builder tailored to portfolio creation, offering a range of themes specifically designed for showcasing creative work. On the other hand, Squarespace is recognised for its versatility, allowing the creation of a variety of website types, not limited to portfolios.

Squarespace is often praised for its design-centric approach and rich feature set, boasting an intuitive editor that simplifies the website creation process. It must be noted, however, that Format has also earned accolades for its ease of use, distinguishing itself with a focus on providing tools and themes that cater to photographers and artists. Both platforms offer a spectrum of business and e-commerce capabilities, including marketing and SEO tools, but they do so with different pricing models and levels of customer support.

Key Takeaways

  • Squarespace is ideal for a wide range of websites with its user-friendly editor and numerous features.
  • Format specialises in offering tools and themes suited for creative portfolios.
  • Both platforms provide comprehensive e-commerce and marketing tools for business growth.

Quick Comparison Table of Format vs Squarespace

FeatureFormat🥇 Squarespace
Target UserPhotographers and portfolio-focused professionalsBroad user base including businesses, bloggers, and creatives
Ease of UseKnown for usability and simplicity for portfolio creationUser-friendly with a slight learning curve for full mastery
TemplatesOver 70 free themes, with a focus on niche portfolio themesOver 150 free portfolio templates, versatile and design-centric
CustomisationGood customisation for portfolio sitesExtensive customisation options for various types of websites
PricingMore budget-friendly for specialised portfolio needsGenerally higher cost, but justifiable with the range of features
SEO ToolsBasic tools for portfolio site optimisationMore complex SEO tools, with advanced features

I've composed this table to give a succinct comparison between Format vs Squarespace to help you identify their key differences quickly. It highlights whom each platform suits best, their ease of use, the range and quality of templates available, the customisation capabilities, price points, and the SEO tools they offer. This should give you a clear snapshot to guide you in choosing the platform that best fits your specific needs.

Overview of Format vs Squarespace

In my exploration of leading website builders, I've scrutinised two popular platforms, Format and Squarespace, both tailored to accommodate the needs of creative professionals and businesses.


History and Evolution

Format emerged as a specialised platform with a keen focus on portfolio development, specifically catering to photographers, artists, and designers. Over time, it has evolved to provide an intuitive experience for creatives seeking to exhibit their work online. Squarespace, on the other hand, started with a broader remit, designed to support a wide range of website projects including businesses, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs. It's grown to become a robust, all-in-one solution recognised for its stylish templates and comprehensive feature set.

format vs squarespace-home

Target Audience

While both website builders service a similar market, their core audiences reflect their origins. Format maintains its niche appeal, particularly resonating with photographers, fashion designers, and artists. It's a haven for creatives needing a streamlined and dedicated portfolio display. Squarespace extends its reach to a broader audience, embracing businesses, entrepreneurs, and even restaurateurs seeking a blend of aesthetic appeal with powerful e-commerce and marketing tools. It's a one-size-fits-all solution that marries design with functionality, making it a versatile choice for various professional needs.

Ease of Use

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When considering the ease of use for website builders, my focus lies on how user-friendly their interfaces are and the efficiency of their drag-and-drop capabilities. These aspects define how swiftly one can move from concept to a fully functioning website.

User Interface Design

The user interface design of a website builder is pivotal in creating an intuitive experience. In my examination, Squarespace stands out with a design-centric theme editor, renowned for its polished and modern interface. It empowers users to manipulate content blocks with minimal effort. On the other hand, Format's interface is commended for its simplicity, particularly appealing to those seeking a streamlined process for portfolio website creation.

Drag-and-Drop Capabilities

Drag-and-drop functionality is at the heart of a user-friendly page builder. Squarespace's drag-and-drop editor facilitates an easy and flexible way to design pages, as it allows elements to be moved around a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) canvas. Format also offers a drag-and-drop editor which is noted for its ease of use, although it may necessitate a bit more time to master completely. Both empower users to construct websites without the need for extensive coding knowledge.

Design and Templates

When considering Format vs Squarespace for your website, the robust offerings in design and templates are fundamental. Each platform caters to those prioritising aesthetic appeal and functionality with different focuses.

Template Quality and Selection

Format offers a highly curated selection of templates that are specifically tailored to portfolio websites. My preference for niche designs like those found in Format can be quite beneficial when I'm looking to showcase visual work, particularly for photographers and artists who will appreciate the integration with Lightroom for streamlined image management.

In contrast, Squarespace boasts a broader range of templates that cater to a wide variety of site types, making it a versatile choice. Responsive themes are a standard here, ensuring that my website is mobile-friendly and maintains its design integrity across all devices.

Customization Options

The ability to personalise my site is essential. Squarespace provides me with extensive design customization tools. I find its design flexibility allows me to tweak layouts, fonts, and colours extensively, ensuring my brand is well-reflected.

Looking at Format, although slightly more limited, the platform still offers ample customization options. This makes it possible for me to adjust the portfolio themes to suit my unique style and professional needs without feeling constrained by template designs.

Responsive Themes

I demand responsive templates that function seamlessly across all devices, which is non-negotiable in today's mobile-centric world. Format ensures that its niche portfolio themes look impeccable on screens of any size, which is paramount for displaying my work effectively.

Moreover, Squarespace’s themes are all built with responsiveness in mind. The designs adjust fluidly when accessed via different devices, ensuring a consistent user experience. This is crucial for me since I aim to reach a broad audience without compromising the design quality.

Website Building Features

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Choosing the right website builder impacts how effectively I can present my content online. It's essential to consider both the integration capabilities and the functionalities that the builders offer.

Integration with Tools and Services

Format excels in providing niche, portfolio-specific options that cater to creative professionals. My experience with Format has shown it has essential tools such as social media integration and a selection of third-party apps focused on portfolio enhancement. The Format vs Squarespace comparison reflects that, while it may have fewer integrations than Squarespace, they are well-tailored to a portfolio website's needs.

Squarespace, on the other hand, offers a broader range of integrations. I find its ability to connect to various business tools and services invaluable for comprehensive website development. It integrates seamlessly with numerous services ranging from marketing tools to e-commerce functionalities. Squarespace's integration with tools and services is broader, suiting a wider variety of projects beyond just portfolios.

Website Builder Functionalities

Discussing website builder functionalities, both platforms offer a set of built features designed to create an engaging user experience.

  • Format:

    • SEO Capabilities: I notice it focuses on optimising content specifically for visual-heavy sites.
    • E-commerce: Allows the sale of prints and services via a minimalistic online store, which is relatively straightforward to set up.
    • Site Speed: Reputation for good performance, although this can vary depending on image sizes and content.
  • Squarespace:

    • SEO Tools: Robust with advanced features to enhance visibility.
    • Online Store: Comprehensive e-commerce capabilities with numerous options for customisation.
    • Custom Content: My Squarespace sites can feature a variety of content types, easily configured with a design-centric page editor.
    • Logo & Branding: Offers integrated features to design logos and further establish branding.

In my own website development efforts, I find Squarespace to be the more versatile tool, with website builder functionalities that serve diverse project requirements, from blog maintenance to running a full-scale web store. However, Format's minimalist approach can be exceptionally effective for creatives looking to build a focused, portfolio-oriented presence online.

Business and E-Commerce Capabilities

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In my examination of Format vs Squarespace, I find that both offer distinct e-commerce capabilities tailored towards different types of businesses, with particular nuances that are vital for photographers and creative professionals.

Online Sales Features

When I assess the online sales features of both website builders, Squarespace stands out as a more robust platform. It supports an extensive range of e-commerce functions necessary for running an online store, such as comprehensive inventory management, flexible shipping options, and the ability to handle a variety of orders and subscriptions. Moreover, Squarespace allows the sale of both physical and digital products, which is particularly beneficial for photographers who want to sell their work directly from their website.

In contrast, Format specialises in portfolio websites and, although it offers e-commerce capabilities, they are more streamlined. This can be an advantage for creatives who seek a simple and focused platform. The e-commerce features included are suitable for photographers to sell their work but may not have the same level of depth in inventory management as seen with Squarespace.

Business Tools and Performance

Turning to business tools and performance, Squarespace provides a comprehensive suite that includes robust CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, analytics, and various integrations that can bolster a business's performance. It has several pricing plans that cater to different business needs, allowing businesses to scale up as they grow.

Meanwhile, Format offers a more niche set of tools that are fine-tuned for photographers and creatives. While Format might not match the versatility of Squarespace's business tools, it often delivers a user experience that caters directly to the specific needs of visual artists. This includes client proofing galleries and direct client delivery systems, which can be incredibly useful for my photography business.

Understanding the distinctions in business and e-commerce capabilities between Format vs Squarespace helps to identify which platform aligns with specific business strategies—whether that's a broad-ranging e-commerce enterprise or a specialised photography business.

Marketing and SEO Tools

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In the realm of website builders, the capabilities for marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) are crucial for standing out in a digital landscape. I'll delve into the specifics of SEO functionality and online presence for Format vs Squarespace to help you understand their offerings.

SEO Functionality

Format touts a dedicated set of SEO tools tailored for creatives looking to enhance their work's visibility. From my experience, Format provides customisable metadata and image alt texts, which support targeted keyword strategies. The platform guides you through the optimisation process, making it a straightforward affair, even for those less versed in SEO.

Squarespace, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive approach to SEO with its all-in-one platform, catering to a broader range of business types. Users can benefit from in-built SEO features like clean HTML markup, automatic sitemaps, and rich snippets, which make it easier for search engines to crawl and index content.

Online Presence and Branding

Both Squarespace Format website builders provide robust options for enhancing your online presence and branding.

Format focuses on a streamlined service that lets artists and creatives showcase their work with minimal fuss. You can customise your portfolio to reflect your personal brand, but the platform's social media integration is somewhat limited..

Squarespace steps up with a suite of marketing tools, including social media integration that supports a cohesive brand experience across platforms. Email campaigns, custom domains, and analytic tools within Squarespace help maintain a consistent and strong online presence that aligns with your branding efforts.

By providing these SEO and marketing tools, both Format and Squarespace enable you to customise and optimise your content, ensuring that your creative or business endeavours gain the visibility they deserve.

Support and Resources

In my comparison of Format vs Squarespace, I've observed that both platforms offer solid support and resources to assist users. However, the way they approach customer service and the wealth of their educational content can differ significantly.

Customer Service

My experience with Squarespace’s customer service has been commendable. They maintain a help centre that's easily accessible, and their support team is known for being responsive and helpful. From technical issues to design queries, I've found their assistance quite reliable. In contrast, whilst Format also provides customer support, its niche focus on portfolio websites dictates a more specialised but smaller-scale support structure.

Educational Content

Regarding educational content, Squarespace shines with its extensive array of materials. The platform features a mixture of tutorial videos and informative blog posts that cover a wide range of topics to guide users. Format, on the other hand, offers targeted tutorials that are more focused on portfolio creation. Both platforms cater well to users' needs, but I find Squarespace’s resources to be more diverse, catering to a broader user base.

Pricing and Plans

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When considering Format and Squarespace for my professional online presence, I focus on the affordability and value these platforms offer. They both provide a range of subscription options to fit various needs, from personal websites to comprehensive business solutions.

Subscription Options

Format: I've noticed that the plans start from as low as $7 a month, making it accessible to emerging professionals and those on a tight budget. They provide a straightforward per-user pricing model, catering well to individual photographers or designers seeking to showcase their portfolios.

Squarespace: In comparison, Squarespace plans begin at $19 monthly, billed on a flat-rate basis. While it may initially seem more expensive, I appreciate that Squarespace's plans are inclusive, offering a wide array of features justifying the cost. Their plans are designed to scale with business growth, ranging from basic functionalities for small personal sites to advanced features needed by growing businesses.

Free Trial and Entry-Level Plans

Both Format and Squarespace understand the hesitation I might have before committing financially. They offer a 14-day free trial, giving me ample time to test out their platforms.

  • Format's Entry-Level Plan: At $7, this plan includes key features I need to start building a professional portfolio, but I have found that it may have limitations in e-commerce functionality, which is something I bear in mind if I plan to sell my work directly from the site.
  • Squarespace's Basic Plan: Starting at $19, it provides me with a robust set of tools right out of the gate. This includes unlimited storage, bandwidth, backup, and an array of portfolio themes crucial for a design-focused profession.

Choosing between Format and Squarespace boils down to my specific needs as a business owner and creative professional. If my priority is affordability and a specialised, portfolio-driven platform, Format is an attractive option. However, if I'm looking for an all-encompassing solution with a wider range of features, Squarespace seems suitable, despite the higher price point.

User Reviews

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When comparing user feedback for Format and Squarespace, I find that both platforms have their share of admirers. Users have rated Format highly, emphasising its specialty in portfolio creation. It boasts an impressive 4.75 out of 5 stars, indicating strong satisfaction among its users, particularly for its focus on ease of use and customer service.

On the other hand, Squarespace gathers a wider audience, with a 4.56 out of 5 stars rating, praised for its versatility and design-centric website themes. While Squarespace serves a broader range of website creation needs, this does not overshadow that users find its value for money quite appealing.

Here's a brief breakdown of what I have gathered:

Ease of UseHighly PraisedVery Competitive
DesignNiche FocusedWide Variety
VersatilityStrong in NicheBroad Features

While Format is highlighted for its simplicity and niche appeal, Squarespace is characterised by its all-in-one website builder capabilities, suitable for various types of projects. My research assures me that choosing between the two should be based on specific user needs and the kind of project one aims to create.

Pros and Cons

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In this section, I'll be discussing the various advantages and limitations of Format vs Squarespace, two prominent website builders. I'll provide specific details on their versatility, ease of use, and design flexibility to help you gauge their suitability for your photographic or creative endeavours.

Advantages of Each Platform

  • Squarespace:

    • Versatility: Known for its comprehensive range of over 150 portfolio templates, Squarespace is easy to use and offers a wealth of design options. This makes it a solid choice for photographers and businesses alike, especially with its robust e-commerce features.
    • Design Flexibility: With a design-centric theme editor, Squarespace provides a high level of customisation, allowing for unique and engaging site designs.
    • Performance & Usability: Regarded as the number one website builder in the USA, Squarespace has a reputation for high-performance websites with a user-friendly interface.
  • Format:

    • Niche Themes: Despite offering fewer themes, Format provides over 70 themes and excels with its niche portfolio themes tailored for creatives.
    • Ease of Use: Users appreciate Format for its extremely user-friendly setup and self-explanatory navigation which makes sharing portfolios straightforward.

Limitations and Considerations

  • Squarespace:

    • Learning Curve: Some users might find Squarespace's myriad of features overwhelming at first, which can entail a steeper learning curve compared to more basic platforms.
    • Pricing: Its extensive features come at a price, potentially making Squarespace a more expensive option for some users.
  • Format:

    • Template Limitations: With fewer templates than Squarespace, Format might offer less variety, which could be a constraint for those seeking more choices.
    • Functionality Focus: While Format is praised for ease of use, it may lack some of the advanced features and integrations that Squarespace offers, possibly affecting its overall flexibility for complex site requirements.

I make sure to stay abreast of the latest updates from both platforms to give an accurate picture of their current offerings. Each has its unique strengths and potential drawbacks, and I suggest weighing these carefully against your specific needs.

Personal Experience

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In my quest for the ideal platform to showcase my work, I experimented with both Squarespace and Format. Each presented a distinct approach to website creation, aligning with different aspects of what I sought in an online presence.

Squarespace was my starting point. Their offering was comprehensive, with a wide range of templates that I found to be versatile for various website types. While I didn't require eCommerce features for my portfolio, I noticed they had ample options there.

  • Ease of Use: Intuitive interface, albeit with a slight learning curve
  • Templates: A broad selection, highly customisable
  • Features: Extensive, from blogging to commerce

Format, on the other hand, appeared as a specialist in portfolio websites. For my purposes, it was a streamlined service that seemed to focus solely on showcasing creative work, which I appreciated.

  • Specialisation: Tailored for portfolio sites
  • User Interface: Simplicity was key – more straightforward than Squarespace
  • Features: More niche but adequate for a portfolio

When I delved into the pricing, it was clear Squarespace had a higher entry point with its Personal plan. However, the feature set justified the cost for a broader project scope. Format felt more pocket-friendly but was tailored for a specific niche.

My personal experience taught me that your platform choice hinges on the scope and nature of your online presence. Squarespace catered to a wider range of web projects, whereas Format honed in on portfolios with remarkable precision.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In my assessment of Format vs Squarespace, I have scrutinised the distinct offerings each platform brings to the table for diverse user needs and preferences.

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What/Whom is Format Best for?

Format is particularly tailored for individuals and professionals seeking a dedicated platform to showcase portfolios. It's exceptionally user-friendly, making it an ideal choice for photographers, artists, and designers who wish to display their work elegantly without delving into complex web design processes. Format's focus on portfolio sites provides a streamlined experience that amplifies the presentation of visual work.

What/Whom is Squarespace Best for?

Squarespace is versatile and well-suited for a broader audience, including small to medium-sized businesses, bloggers, and creators looking to build a comprehensive online presence. It excels in delivering an all-in-one solution with a diverse range of templates and customisation options, allowing for the creation of websites beyond portfolios, such as e-commerce and blogs.


For those considering other options, platforms like Wix and WordPress offer similar functionality to Squarespace with considerable customisation opportunities. Shopify might be the go-to for e-commerce focused users, while Adobe Portfolio could be a closer alternative to Format for visual creatives.

PlatformKey FeaturesPrice (Basic Paid Plan)My ViewTry For Free
🥇 SquarespaceBeautiful templates, social media integration, SEO tools$12/month
Check Pricing
Squarespace is a great all-around portfolio builder with excellent design aesthetics.Try For Free
🥈 WixExtensive customization, large app market, ADI featureFree to start, paid plans from $14/month
Check Pricing
Best for maximum creative controlTry For Free
🥉 Adobe PortfolioIntegration with Creative Cloud, clean templates, automatic optimizationIncluded with Creative Cloud ($20.99/month)
Check Pricing
Ideal for existing Adobe Creative Cloud subscribersTry For Free
WordPress.comMassive flexibility, huge template selection, powerful blogging featuresFree to start, paid plans from $4/month
Check Pricing
Best for those who want maximum flexibility and blogging capabilityTry For Free
WeeblyUser-friendly, built-in SEO tools, advanced website analyticsFree to start, paid plans from $6/month
Check Pricing
Good for beginners with small portfoliosTry For Free
FormatClient proofing, online store, themes optimized for artists$6/month
Check Pricing
Format is great for professionals, offering client proofing and online store featuresTry For Free
SmugmugUnlimited photo uploads, eCommerce capabilities, privacy controls$7/month
Check Pricing
SmugMug is an excellent choice for photographers, offering unlimited photo uploads.Try For Free
PixpaE-commerce, client proofing, blog, custom CSS$7/month
Check Pricing
Ideal for creatives who need a blend of portfolio and e-commerceTry For Free
DudaCollaboration tools, excellent templates, widget personalization$14/month
Check Pricing
Great for collaborative portfolio buildingTry For Free
Check Pricing
ZenfolioClient access pages, built-in marketing tools, unlimited storage$5/month
Check Pricing
Best for professional photographers who want client access featuresTry For Free

Final Word

My meticulous comparison of Format and Squarespace reveals that the choice between the two rests on the specific needs of the user. Format shines for portfolio-centric sites, whereas Squarespace offers a robust platform for a variety of website types. It's crucial for users to weigh these factors alongside their particular requirements when making a decision. So with our comparison of Format Squarespace winner is Squarespace!

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I'll address some common inquiries about Format vs Squarespace, focusing on their features for photography portfolios, pricing, template range, user-friendliness, and how they compare to other platforms.

What are the advantages of using Squarespace for photography portfolios?

Squarespace is acclaimed for its extensive selection of high-quality templates that suit various styles and are particularly well-suited to photography portfolios. The platform's all-in-one approach means that functionality for e-commerce, SEO, and social media integration is built right in, making it a comprehensive tool for photographers.

How does Format's pricing compare with other website builders?

Compared to other website builders, Format provides cost-effective plans that are particularly tailored for creatives building portfolio websites. Although affordable, it's vital to scrutinise exactly what each plan offers to ensure it matches your needs as some key features may be limited on lower-tier plans.

What range of website templates does Format offer for creative professionals?

Format caters specifically to creative professionals, providing a curated selection of website templates designed to showcase portfolios in the best light. The templates are crafted with simplicity and elegance in mind, ensuring that the work of creatives takes centre stage.

How user-friendly is Squarespace for individuals without web design experience?

Squarespace offers a very intuitive user interface, which is ideal for individuals who lack web design experience. Its drag-and-drop editor simplifies the process of building and customising a website, allowing users to easily construct a professional-looking online presence.

Between Wix and Squarespace, which platform offers superior features for web designers?

When it comes to advanced features, Squarespace is often favoured by web designers for its sophisticated design capabilities and high-quality templates. However, Wix also offers a broad range of functionality and freedom for customisation, which can be advantageous depending on a designer’s specific needs.

Does Adobe Portfolio provide better solutions for creatives than Squarespace?

Adobe Portfolio is tailored specifically for creatives and is particularly powerful when integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud services. While it excels in showcasing creative work, Squarespace provides a wider set of tools perfect for businesses seeking a strong online presence with additional features like e-commerce support.

That’s all for now:

If you've read our Format vs Squarespace comparison up to here, we are grateful. Remember to always keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other alternative comparison articles, such as the ones below;


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